While you'd like to be able to stay with your parent 24/7 at the nursing home where he or she resides, you know it's not possible. In fact, that's likely one of the many reasons you spent so much time trying to find the facility that seemed to be the best fit for your loved one. Although you worried about having to entrust your aging parent to a team of care providers, you also had confidence in the system.
You know that nursing home workers received training to provide high quality care according to Illinois law and accepted safety standards. Sadly, there's no guarantee that every nursing home administrator or caregiver will adhere to regulations. Many patients have suffered terrible injuries because of medical negligence. That's why you'll want to know from the start where to seek support if a problem arises.
Bed sores are often a negligence problem
Any number of issues, such as frailty, paralysis or old age, can cause your loved one to have to stay in bed for many hours at a time. The following list provides important information regarding bed sores:
- Such sores typically occur when a specific part of the bed sustains too much pressure for too long of a time.
- Areas of the body such as elbows, knees and the coccyx tend to be most bony and are therefore at great risk for pressure sores.
- You might be surprised to learn that complications from serious bed sores can be fatal.
- Many patients in Illinois intensive care units and ICUs in other states are there because of bed sore injuries.
- Bed sores typically progress through stages. The sooner they are treated, the likelier a patient can achieve a full recovery.
- Severe skin and tissue damage can result from untreated bed sores.
There are regulations and protocol in place in all Illinois nursing homes that help care providers prevent bed sores in their patients. When you visit your parent, it's critical to talk about how often nurses are helping him or her change positions in bed. If you notice any type of wound on your loved one's body, it warrants further investigation.
Other issues that cause or exacerbate bed sores
Caregivers should be diligent in checking to make sure a patient is not suffering from bed sores and to take swift action to treat any sores that develop. The issues on the following list can cause or make bed sores worse:
- If your loved one is incontinent and workers are not changing bed sheets or his or her clothing often enough, the urine can come in contact with a sore and worsen it.
- Dead or infected tissue that festers can cause a life-threatening situation. To avoid this, debridement is often necessary.
- Lack of proper treatment, such as antibiotics or other medications, can delay healing.
- Not cleaning a wound places a patient at risk for further injury or even life-threatening infections.
Never hesitate to request a meeting with Illinois nursing home staff members if you believe your loved one has suffered an injury that was likely preventable. Such situations often lead to civil litigation when immediate family members seek justice against those whose negligence caused their loved ones to suffer injury or death.